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Training School for Negro Girls

Training School for Negro Girls

Camille Acker
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When you're black and female in America, society's rules were never meant to make you safe or free. In this flawlessly executed work [that] reinvigorates the short fiction genre, Camille Acker's relatable yet unexpected characters break down the walls of respectability politics, showing that the only way for black women to be free is to be themselves (BUST).

In her debut short story collection, Camille Acker unleashes the irony and tragic comedy of respectability onto a wide-ranging cast of characters, all of whom call Washington, DC, home. A woke millennial tries to fight gentrification, only to learn she's part of the problem; a grade school teacher dreams of a better DC, only to take out her frustrations on her students; and a young piano player wins a competition, only to learn the prize is worthless.

Ultimately, they are confronted with the fact that respectability does not equal freedom. Instead, they must learn to trust their own conflicted judgment and fight to create their own sense of space and self.


Camille Acker grew up in Washington, DC. She holds a B.A. in English from Howard University and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from New Mexico State University. Her writing has received support from the Djerassi Resident Artists Program, Voices of Our Nations Arts, and Millay Colony for the Arts, among others. She was a fiction co-editor for Dismantle: An Anthology from the VONA/Voices Workshop (Thread Makes Blanket Press 2014). Her writing has appeared in a number of outlets including The New York Times Book Review, LitHub, Publishers Weekly, Electric Literature, VICE, and DAME Magazine. She currently lives in Philadelphia.


  • Publisher: ‎The Feminist Press at CUNY (October 23, 2018)
  • Language: ‎English
  • Paperback: ‎232 pages
  • ISBN-10: ‎1936932377
  • ISBN-13: ‎9781936932375
  • Item Weight: ‎10.4 ounces
  • Dimensions: ‎5.4 x 0.8 x 7.9 inches
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